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When you look at the running back projections for Week 7 at the bottom of this article, you are going to see names you never expected to see in places you never expected to see them. D'Ernest Johnson and Khalil Herbert in the top 12. J.D. McKissic and Devonta Freeman just outside that. Even after last week's debacle, Devontae Booker inside the top 20. This deserves some discussion.

There's always a disparity between projections and rankings, and this week will be no different. In fact, this week the disparity may be even bigger. That's because we have so many unknowns. The touch split in Seattle, Cleveland, Baltimore, Washington, and Miami is a complete guessing game. Things are only slightly more clear in Atlanta and Philadelphia. And if Damien Williams comes back we can add Chicago to the list. That's more than a fourth of the teams playing this week and we haven't even mentioned Bill Belichick or Kyle Shanahan yet. 

So the rankings are going to value certainty a little bit more. Or at least our perception of certainty. The rankings (and the projections) are also going to change a lot as the week goes on. What you'll see below is a glimpse of what is to come, but you'll want to wait until Sunday morning to make your lineup decisions. That's always true, but it's more true this week. 

Of course, you need to make a decision about who to pick up before then. And my waiver wire priorities are below to help you do just that.

Let's get to the rest of the Week 7 RB Preview:

Week 7 RB Preview
RB Preview
Who's Out

The following players are not being projected to play Week 7 at this time. Here's what it means:

Who's Out
Projections powered by Sportsline
CLE Cleveland • #27
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
D'Ernest Johnson looks like one of the top waiver wire priorities.
BAL Baltimore • #28
Age: 31 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Devonta Freeman is a must-start running back if Murray is out.
RB Preview
Numbers to know
  • 95 -- D'Ernest Johnson produced 95 yards in his only game with more than 10 carries.
  • 260 -- Derrick Henry has 260 more rushing yards than any other player this season.
  • 12 -- Joe Mixon leads all running backs with 12 broken tackles.
  • 5.7 -- Miles Sanders still leads all running backs with a broken tackle every 5.7 rush attempts.
  • 19.7% -- Najee Harris leads all running backs with a 19.7% target share.
  • 18.8 -- Alvin Kamara is averaging 18.8 rush attempts per game. His previous high for a season is 12.9.
  • 23.9 -- Darrel Williams scored 23.9 PPR Fantasy points in Week 6, the most for a Chiefs running back since Damien Williams in 2019.
  • 89% -- Khalil Herbert played 89% of the snaps in Week 6. If Damien Williams can't go, Herbert is a start even with the terrible matchup.
RB Preview
Matchups that matter
Matchups that Matter
Projections powered by Sportsline
CHI Chicago • #24
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ TB TB -13 O/U 47
OPP VS RB
10th
PROJ PTS
8.9
RB RNK
25th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
179
REC
2
REYDS
15
TD
1
FPTS/G
4.6
DEN Denver • #25
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CLE CLE -3.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
2nd
PROJ PTS
8.2
RB RNK
24th
KC Kansas City • #31
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ TEN KC -4.5 O/U 56.5
OPP VS RB
11th
PROJ PTS
14.1
RB RNK
11th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
161
REC
10
REYDS
72
TD
4
FPTS/G
9.6
NE New England • #37
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYJ NE -7 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
26th
PROJ PTS
9.6
RB RNK
17th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
331
REC
8
REYDS
53
TD
3
FPTS/G
10.2
PHI Philadelphia • #26
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ LV LV -3 O/U 49
OPP VS RB
22nd
PROJ PTS
11.2
RB RNK
14th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
270
REC
18
REYDS
121
TD
0
FPTS/G
9.9
SEA Seattle • #41
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NO NO -5 O/U 43.5
OPP VS RB
4th
PROJ PTS
8.2
RB RNK
18th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
225
REC
5
REYDS
56
TD
2
FPTS/G
9.1
RB Preview
Waiver Wire Targets
Week 7 Adds
CLE Cleveland • #30
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs DEN CLE -3.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
5th
RB RNK
19th
ROSTERED
5%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
11
REC
1
REYDS
7
TD
0
FPTS/G
0.5
Johnson will share the backfield with Demetric Felton, but Felton is more of a receiver than a runner; he doesn't even have a carry yet. That should leave Johnson in line for 15-plus carries and a couple of targets on a short week against an average Broncos run defense. In a normal week that would make him a low-end No. 2 running back. This week that makes him close to must-start. Felton should also be added in PPR leagues.
BAL Baltimore • #34
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CIN BAL -6.5 O/U 47.5
OPP VS RB
18th
RB RNK
22nd
ROSTERED
4%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
95
REC
3
REYDS
34
TD
1
FPTS/G
4.4
If you told me for sure that Latavius Murray was out, I would make Freeman my top priority. And if you (somehow) don't need a starting running back in Week 7, Freeman probably should be the priority. He leads the Ravens with 5.9 yards per carry and he's looked shifty in the passing game as well. There's a chance he lands a 15-touch a game role in one of the best offenses in football. Le'Veon Bell should also be added, but not with as much enthusiasm.
WAS Washington • #32
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ GB GB -9.5 O/U 49
OPP VS RB
17th
RB RNK
34th
ROSTERED
3%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
28
REC
2
REYDS
9
TD
0
FPTS/G
1
If Antonio Gibson is unable to go we project Patterson as a mid-range flex with No. 2 running back upside in a timeshare with J.D. McKissic. Patterson would probably need a touchdown to pay off big, and we don't expect Gibson to miss an extended period, so don't go too crazy with your FAB.
Stash
NE New England • #38
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYJ NE -7 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
26th
RB RNK
32nd
ROSTERED
35%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
48
REC
4
REYDS
48
TD
1
FPTS/G
5.9
I'm not ready to start Stevenson yet, but his role in the passing game (and the red zone) is very encouraging. Damien Harris has dealt with injuries most of this season and has already fumbled twice. You don't have to squint that hard to see a three-down role for Stevenson.
RB Preview
DFS Plays
Top Play
Projections powered by Sportsline
TEN Tennessee • #22
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs KC KC -4.5 O/U 56.5
OPP VS RB
25th
PROJ PTS
21.6
RB RNK
1st
YTD Stats
RUYDS
783
REC
16
REYDS
138
TD
10
FPTS/G
28.4
Henry's price is insane this week. It's also not high enough. He's averaging more than 28 Fantasy points per game and he's at home against arguably the worst defense in the NFL. Records may be broken.
Contrarian Play
Projections powered by Sportsline
CHI Chicago • #24
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ TB TB -13 O/U 47
OPP VS RB
10th
PROJ PTS
8.9
RB RNK
25th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
179
REC
2
REYDS
15
TD
1
FPTS/G
4.6
No one is going to want to play Herbert against the Buccaneers, for good reason. But if Damien Williams is out, I think he'll get enough touches to make him interesting. And his price is held down by the matchup and his inexperience. This is a tournament only play, but there have been two running backs already this season score more than 30 PPR Fantasy points against the Buccaneers.
RB Preview
Heath's Projections